The holidays are a magical time at Grace Cathedral. From our beloved A Cathedral Christmas concert series with our Choir of Men and Boys to our Sing You a Merry Christmas family shows, there’s something for everyone. Our beautiful Christmas Eve and Day services are also a beloved tradition and are open to all!
“This very night your life is being demanded of you.”
At last Sunday’s baptism service, we read a scripture passage about the transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor. A second set of readings for this date amplifies on the meaning of baptism.
Our tradition holds that in the water of baptism a person is buried with Christ. By baptism we share in his resurrection. In the letter to the Colossians in the readings, Paul tells us that as persons baptized and raised with Christ, we must turn our minds to things above and set aside earthly things.
The other two readings offer examples of worldly preoccupation. The Parable of the Rich Fool in Luke’s gospel describes a rich man, having accumulated abundant possessions, who resolves to store them up in a warehouse and devote himself to selfish occupations: relax, eat, drink and be merry. God rebukes him: “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”
The reading from Ecclesiastes proclaims that God has given human beings an unhappy business to occupy themselves with. All deeds done under the sun are vanity and a chasing after wind. The author’s point is not so much that our striving is self-important and our achievements vacuous as that they are vaporous and our hold on them is fleeting. Everything we accumulate ends up in another’s hands. Life is not under our control. Have you ever felt like that? The advice in Ecclesiastes is to accept our lot in life, live honorably and leave the future to God.
Set against this is Paul’s call to the baptized to amend their lives, empty their emotional baggage and set their minds on revealing Christ in their lives. The foolishness of worldly preoccupations is revealed by the fact that our lives may be demanded at any time, but there is also a profoundly uplifting message here. God insists that our lives are needed, in fact required, for purposes beyond self-gratification. What greater antidote to vanity and hedonism than to be wanted, to be useful, to be demanded right now by God?
Please take our 2019 Congregation Survey! It is open until midnight on Sunday, July 21.
Thanks to everyone who attended the Annual Meeting of the Congregation on Sunday, January 27. So much happened in the Year of Truth, and so much is planned for the Year of the Body. Gresham was filled with energy as we gathered to remember and to learn. The 2019 Annual Report can be found here.
In his report to the congregation, Bishop Marc Andrus emphasized diocesan efforts in racial justice and the distinct character of that work in the multi-ethnic Bay Area. This theme will be reflected in the 2019 Convention Eucharist, to be led by Native American Episcopalians. Equally important are diocesan efforts toward carbon reduction. As the cathedral, we have a particular responsibility to get involved! Learn more and sign up at http://www.sustainislandhome.org/.
Dean Malcolm Young highlighted the strategic growth that occurred in 2018, including: 50+ youth at the MLK overnight (Mary Carter Greene); forums, marches and interfaith vigils for justice led by Ellen Clark-King; and the integration of the yoga community, as well as groundbreaking Vine services such as the Beyoncé Mass (Jude Harmon) that open our doors to a broader community.
Other cathedral leaders such as Board President David Walker, Congregation Council President Christine Bensen, and Deanery Co-Convener Karma Quick-Panwala enriched the picture of Grace, its people, and its impact on the wider Church, the community, and the world. Together we watched a video about contributions from our Truth Book from congregants and visitors. Watch the video at https://gracecathedral.org/TruthVideo
We honored outstanding and beloved congregants. Helen Borgan and Regan Murphy received the Dean and Chapter Award for their longstanding and generous leadership across many ministries. Marisa Hurtado’s crucial contributions in growing The Vine community were recognized with the Office of the Congregation Award.
We also gave thanks for the tireless service of Cathedral Deacon Nina Pickerrell, and look forward to celebrating her ministry at Pentecost, Sunday, June 9.
We elected representatives to governing and advisory bodies, and welcome our new trustees, councilors, and deanery delegates:
Congregational Trustees: Tricia Weaver Moss, Rosemary Turner, Arthur Yeap
Congregation Council: Torrie Fields, Steph McNally, Marc Priester, David Robinson, and Lisa S. Wong
Deanery Delegation: Niall Battson, Joe Garity, Ron Hermanson, Ron Johnson, Jean Krasilnikoff, Karma Quick-Panwala, Barbra Ruffin-Boston
The Winter 2019 issue of Grace Notes, our seasonal publication that lets you know about all the exciting events going on at the cathedral, is now available! Read the new edition online.